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Safety experts aim to reduce pedestrians' risks

When pedestrians in Minnesota are involved in a car accident, the consequences can be particularly severe. In early January 2019, four people lost their lives when trying to cross the street in the St. Paul area, a spate of deaths that prompted concern from safety advocates and researchers. One research group went out and crossed over 16,000 intersections in the region in order to spot points of potential danger and highlight ways to make the crossings safer for everyone involved. In addition, researchers worked jointly with police to increase enforcement for vehicle violations at crosswalks as well as to improve pedestrian visibility.

Researchers noted that they experienced only 32 percent of cars yielding to pedestrians when they began the experiment, but that number increased to 60 percent after the enforcement and visibility efforts. At some intersections, yield rates were greater than 70 percent. These statistics were backed up by some statewide improvement. In 2016, 60 pedestrians were killed in motor vehicle accidents, a number that fell to 42 by 2018. However, this still leaves plenty of room for dangerous and deadly crashes. The goal of safety researchers is to achieve zero deaths in roadway accidents, not merely to reduce them from a peak rate.

Many pedestrians are severely injured even in crashes where everyone survives. These injuries can include traumatic brain damage, back trauma and other serious, long-term problems. Researchers say that moves to lower speed limits or the construction of protective barriers may be necessary to further curb severe accidents.

Pedestrian accidents can lead to serious injuries and permanent disabilities. In many cases, these crashes are caused by distracted, dangerous or otherwise negligent drivers. A personal injury lawyer may work with people injured in a crash through no fault of their own to pursue compensation for their damages.

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